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Nikita Popov:
PHP 7 Virtual Machine
Apr 17, 2017 @ 17:42:47

Nikita Popov has a new post to his site sharing a look behind the curtain of how the PHP 7 virtual machine works, the latest version in the Zend Virtual Machine that powers the language.

This article aims to provide an overview of the Zend Virtual Machine, as it is found in PHP 7. This is not a comprehensive description, but I try to cover most of the important parts, as well as some of the finer details.

This description targets PHP version 7.2 (currently in development), but nearly everything also applies to PHP 7.0/7.1. However, the differences to the PHP 5.x series VM are significant and I will generally not bother to draw parallels.

Most of this post will consider things at the level of instruction listings and only a few sections at the end deal with the actual C level implementation of the VM.

He then goes through many different points and piece of functionality in the VM and how they work including:

  • variable types
  • the stack frame layout
  • fetch modes
  • exception handling
  • finally handling
  • generators

There's lots of information here and it's definitely interesting to see what happens inside the language to create the fast and functional PHP 7 applications we have now.

tagged: virtualmachine php7 zend detail behindthescenes example

Link: http://nikic.github.io/2017/04/14/PHP-7-Virtual-machine.html

CloudWays Blog:
Stefan Priebsch Talks About ThePHP.Cc, His Experience With PHP Development, PHP 7 &
Apr 14, 2017 @ 12:50:39

The CloudWays blog has posted another in its series of interviews with members of the PHP community. In this latest article they talk with Stefan Priebsch of thePHP.cc (a consulting company) and some of his experiences, past and present, in the world of PHP.

Today, We are honoured to have Stefan Priebsch for this interview. He is a cofounder of thePHP.cc, a well known PHP consulting firm. He is also an entrepreneur, university lecturer and a thought leader in modern software application architecture. Stefan specializes in PHP powered enterprise applications and has built an enviable reputation as one of the best trainers in Germany.

Additionally, Stefan speaks regularly at international PHP conferences and wrote a book PHP 7 Explained with Sebastian Bergmann and Arne Blankerts. In this interview, he talks about his career, PHP 7 ebook and the latest developments in the industry.

In the interview Stefan answers questions about the benefits of the PHP 7.x releases, his work at thePHP.cc, his book, what development tools he uses and how he spends his free time. You can read his answers to these questions and more in the full interview.

tagged: cloudways interview stefanpriebsch thephpcc experience php7 book development

Link: https://www.cloudways.com/blog/stefan-priebsch-interview/

Exakat Blog:
Moving from array to class
Apr 12, 2017 @ 11:18:42

In a new post to the Exakat blog there's a proposal to replace uses of arrays with classes to make scripts more efficient and handle resources better behind the scenes.

Ever since I started using PHP, arrays have always been my friend. They are versatile, they have a wide range of functions, and they are easy to use. I kept using them versions after versions, and even with PHP 7.2, I still rely on them a lot. Over the years, classes have also made their way into my toolset. They have a different usage : classes are for complex data structures, for business logic. Simple data structures get an array. Until we tried what seemed impossible : a moving from an array to a class.

He mentions some of the recent changes in PHP 7 that make the use of classes over arrays a bit more advantageous. He then gets into how to take advantage of these efficiency benefits in moving from arrays to classes. He uses an example from his own work in the Exacat engine, how he performed the replacement and a small caveat he found when working with functions requiring array input. He ends the post with some of the other benefits from making the move including performance enhancements, readability and reduced memory usage.

tagged: array class performance difference tutorial php7

Link: https://www.exakat.io/moving-from-array-to-class/

Stefan Koopmanschap:
Sculpin and Docker
Mar 22, 2017 @ 12:49:05

Stefan Koopmanschap has written up a tutorial on his site introducing the use of Docker and Sculpin to create an easily reproducible and manageable blogging setup.

I've been running this blog on Sculpin for quite a while now, and I'm quite happy with how that works. We've been in a process of migrating some of our websites off a standard VPS towards a setup with Docker, Gitlab CI and Rancher. I've now migrated some websites, which is relatively easy, but most of those sites were dynamic PHP websites. Migrating a site that generates static HTML and running that is a slightly different thing. Here's how I ended up doing it.

First he covers his old setup - essentially the manual run of a shell command to generate the latest version of a the static Sculpin site. He decided to update the process and help makes things more automatic using Docker and a Gitlab pipeline flow. He then documents his attempts and configuration options as he built up the Docker configuration he wanted. This ultimately resulted in a Docker setup that installed PHP and Nginx to serve up the site, Composer to load in the required dependencies (like Sculpin) and the commands to "deploy" the latest version of the site publicly.

tagged: sculpin docker setup configuration tutorial dockerfile php7

Link: https://leftontheweb.com/blog/2017/03/18/sculpin-and-docker/

Simon Holywell:
PHP and immutability
Mar 22, 2017 @ 11:21:37

In a recent post to his site Simon Holywell covers immutability in PHP. PHP, by default, uses weak typing and doesn't support much in the way of immutability but Simon shows you a few ways you can get around this and make immutable objects you can use and extend.

Being a weakly typed dynamic language, PHP has not really had the concept of immutability built into it. We’ve seen the venerable define() and CONSTANTS of course, but they’re limited. Whilst PHP does ship with an immutable class as part of it’s standard library, DateTimeImmutable, there is no immediately obvious method to create custom immutable objects.

[...] It is possible to write your own immutables using some simple and sneaky PHP techniques though. We’re going to use a simplistic data requirement to make the examples in this article easier to follow. I’ll be using professional skateboarders and the tricks that they brought to the world.

He starts the article talking about immutability and how it relates back to the current (as of PHP 7) values supported in constants - scalars and arrays (no objects). He then starts on the code to create the base Immutable class that sets its values via the constructor. He then points out some of the common "work arounds" people use when trying to work with immutable objects and some techniques to help prevent it: the use of final, a "flag" preventing another constructor call, etc.

tagged: immutable tutorial technique php7 constant

Link: https://www.simonholywell.com/post/2017/03/php-and-immutability/

Zend Framework Blog:
PHP and SQL Server for Linux
Feb 15, 2017 @ 11:21:52

The Zend Framework blog has a new post from Enrico Zimuel talking about the use of SQL Server for Linux from inside a PHP-based application. This makes use of the preview release of SQL Server for Linux directly from Microsoft.

This week we tested the public preview of Microsoft SQL Server for Linux using PHP 7 with our component zendframework/zend-db.

Microsoft announced the availability of a public preview of SQL Server for Linux on the 16th of November, 2016. [...] Moreover, the performance of the new DBMS seems to be very impressive. Microsoft published a case study with 1.2 million requests per second with In-Memory OLTP on a single commodity server.

The tutorial shows you how to get the SQL Server software installed on a Ubuntu-based system and install it via apt-get. They also show how to install the command line tool for SQL Server and get the msodbcsql driver needed to make the connection. Finally they show how to set up the driver with PHP 7 (via PDO) and running the Zend/Db integration tests using a Vagrant-created and configured VM instance.

tagged: sqlserver linux tutorial php7 install configure vagrant microsoft

Link: https://framework.zend.com/blog/2017-02-14-php-sql-server-linux.html

ThePHP.cc:
Refactoring to PHP 7
Jan 31, 2017 @ 10:52:42

On thePHP.cc blog today there's a new post sharing some helpful hints related to refactoring your application to PHP 7 written up by a friend of the group, Tim Bezhashvyly.

Recently I have migrated a relatively large codebase from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7 and would like to share some of my learnings. To get the most out of this article, you should be familiar with scalar type declarations (and return type declarations). To learn about these and other features of PHP 7, I recommend the "PHP 7 Explained" eBook.

He makes the recommendation of a bold first step: enabling the strict typing on every file in your application to enforce the typing of all values. Next he recommends running your current test suite to see where the failures are. Changes are pretty high that you'll find issues with type switching and magic method handling. He suggests a method for migrating your code effectively to PHP 7: a test-driven migration. This focus works fine if your coverage is good but unless you're exercising all parts of your codebase things will unfortunately be missed.

He also points out some other changes you can make with this update including the removal of some PHPDoc annotations (you'll know the type for sure now) and modifications that may need to be made to current mock objects in your tests. There's a few other smaller things he recommends looking out for as well including the use of the "silencer" operator and exception changes.

tagged: refactoring php7 testdriven unittest testing migration strict types

Link: https://thephp.cc/news/2017/01/refactoring-to-php7

Arpatech.com:
9 Things You Should Need to Know About PHP 7
Jan 27, 2017 @ 11:20:50

The Arpatech.com blog has a new post sharing their list of top nine things to know about PHP 7 with some brief explanations for each. It's not an in-depth coverage of the features in this latest major release of the language but it does give a nice overview for those not familiar with what really changed.

If you are a web developer or a website owner, and you love to use CMS that are PHP-enabled like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or PHP timetable, PHP 7 which was released on 3 December 2015, is now ready for the production use.

Yes you heard it right! PHP 7 is out to use. We are going to tell all the great things you need to know about PHP 7.

They've included several types of topics in their list, both code and performance related:

  • PHPNG, the New Core
  • Double the Speed
  • New Spaceship (<=>) and Null Coalescing (??) Operators
  • Enables Accurate Type Declarations
  • Imports from the Same Namespace

Each item on the list comes with a brief summary of what the improvement offers and, in the case of code-related items, a quick snippet showing it in action.

tagged: php7 top9 list major release features improvements summary

Link: http://www.arpatech.com/blog/9-best-things-you-should-know-about-php7/

Derick Rethans:
Good Bye PHP 5
Jan 11, 2017 @ 10:13:53

On his site Derick Rethans has posted an announcement about a major change in the Xdebug project (a widely used PHP debugger) he leads, saying goodby to PHP 5.

A few days ago I merged a patch into on GitHub. Maintaining PHP 5 and PHP 7 support in one code base is not particularly easy, and even more complicated for something like Xdebug, with its deep interactions with PHP's internals.

As PHP 5.6's active support has ended on December 31st, I also felt it no longer needed to support PHP 5 with Xdebug any more. It saves more than 5000 lines of code.

He shares some of the responses to the change (via Tweets) from the community ranging from full support to outcry over the change. He points out that the current version of Xdebug (2.5) will continue to operate on PHP 5 systems but when Xdebug 2.6 rolls around, the 2.5 branch will only receive bugfixes and no new features. You can find out about those upcoming features here.

tagged: xdebug debugging tool php7 php5 upgrade support

Link: https://derickrethans.nl/xdebug-php5.html

thePHP.cc:
PHP 5: Active Support Ends. Now what?
Jan 02, 2017 @ 12:54:03

The final day of 2016 has come and gone and with it came the end of active support for the PHP 5.6 series of releases. This also marks the end of active support for anything in the PHP 5.x major release and pushing on with PHP 7. In this post to thePHP.cc blog Sebastian Bergmann talks about what this means for you and the tools you use.

The active support by the PHP project for PHP 5.6, the final release series of PHP 5, ends today. What is "active support"? And what does it mean for you? To answer this, you need to understand PHP's release process.

He starts with the release schedule and when it shifted from the "consensus based model" over to an official process, introducing more formality to the whole process (in 2012). He mentions two key terms to the process: "active support" and "security support". PHP 5.6 has moved past active support and is now in the the security support phase with only security fixes to be released from here on out. Sebastian then talks about what this means for your current code and, if you're still running on PHP 5.6, what you should do to come up to speed with PHP 7.x. He lists some of the projects that are moving into the world of PHP 7 only including PhpSpec 4.0, Laravel 5.5 and Symfony 4.

tagged: php5 active support end security php7 migration upgrade

Link: https://thephp.cc/news/2016/12/php-5-active-support-ends-now-what